With almost ten years of experience, XO Tours has become one of the most trusted food tours in Saigon, and was the first to feature all-female bike drivers.
We tried their premier tour – The XO Foodie – listed as one of the top nine food tours in the world by Forbes Magazine.
XO Foodie offers a unique and authentic look into the lives of the local people and lets guests try some of the not so well-known Vietnamese dishes.
What to expect on The XO Foodie?
We were picked up from our hotel by our designated tour drivers, Hang and Hong.
Before we got on the bike, our guides explained the traffic in Saigon and how to safely mount and be a passenger on a bike. Traffic in Saigon is crazy, we know!
They spoke clearly, with good English.
All throughout our rides together, they continuously talked with us and explained each area we were driving through. They made us feel very comfortable and were very knowledgeable.
First Stop – Introductions and Soup
Our first stop was to meet the rest of the tour group, including our charismatic tour-leader, Sang.
He introduced all 14 of our tour group and welcomed us with a brief introduction of the tour.
We were quite impressed that he could remember all our names. Again, his English was clear and very easy to understand.
After the introduction, we dined on a special soup from central Vietnam.
The dish originated from Hue – the former capital of Vietnam – and is known for its balance of spicy, salty, and umami flavors.
Sang explained the different ingredients and the final preparations before eating.
Second Stop – China Town
We then rode onto China town. The moment we entered this vibrant community, we could see the differences in architecture and lifestyle.
We noticed the shops had signs in Chinese characters. The neighborhoods were lively and colorful, with many wholesale shops selling Christmas and Tet decorations.
We took a brief stop and gathered together.
Our tour leader then explained the significance of this historic place and talked about many things that most tourists wouldn’t know, using photos on his tablet to help. Sang spoke well, and we learned a lot.
We then moved on to a local market in a nearby district.
Along the way, our guides explained how things work in a Vietnamese market, and why many people in this market sleep overnight at their stalls.
Third Stop – Barbeque and Beer!
After another sightseeing spot, we were driven to the next district.
We sat down in a busy local restaurant to try some delicious barbecued meats.
There were the usual meats, but also some that tourists might otherwise have never tried. All were delicious!
Also at this stage, the beer and shots came out!
As we shared a table with a vegetarian couple, we had the chance to try the vegetarian dishes on offer. We sampled morning glory and Banh Khot.
The final was a bit of a challenge.
The food and drink were unlimited, and we left with happy stomachs!
Fourth Stop – ‘Little Singapore’
The next stop was a wealthier area in a central district, where Sang gave us some insightful details about this unique part of the city.
“District 7 is like a little Singapore in Saigon,” – Sang explained.